As a baby, Annie Price was the victim of a terrible fire that left her with lifelong scars. The fire hid an ugly truth behind it – and now the woman, a mother in her own right, is not hiding the truth from her young daughter.
Annie was a child when the caravan she lived in, in Surrey, UK caught fire. She was left with horrible injuries on her face and body.
Even worse, she spent much of her life thinking her own mum had started fire, trying to deliberately kill her. Decades later, she learned the truth behind the fire that changed her life.
As a mother, Annie wants complete transparency
Now a mum to Sonny, two, and pregnant with her second child, she’s determined to tell them truth of how she got to where she is in life.
Recently, Annie spoke to the BBC. She shared that Sonny had touched my scars and said, “Mummy, what’s this on your hand?”
When I explained what they were, he got upset and said, ‘Where are my scars, Mummy?’
“I just said, ‘You really don’t want these!’ but when he can fully understand, I’ll explain exactly what happened to me,” Annie said.
She believed the wrong story her whole life
She grew up thinking her mother had set the fire on purpose. Annie’s mum Biddy, an Irish traveler, was married but got pregnant after having an affair with a black man.
When Annie was growing up, she was told she’d set fire to the caravan on purpose as she was worried her baby wouldn’t be accepted for the color of her skin.
It wasn’t until Annie made a documentary three years ago that she discovered the fire was probably just an accident.
I went into making the film with my eyes open – it’s a sad story, but I wanted to close that chapter in my life.
The firemen who’d been at the scene in 1986 told Annie it was probably a gas fire set light to some cushions, and she had been rescued by her grandmother.
“I now know those sorts of fires were extremely common in the 80s, with around 2,000 blazes each year.”
“I was a baby, she didn’t know me. She wasn’t trying to kill me as I am as a person. She didn’t want me for whatever reason. You can’t condone these things.”
I felt guilty afterwards, thinking, ‘Why did I believe that my mum had tried to kill me?’
But kids sometimes just take what they are told as gospel.
Now, Annie wants people to look beyond her scars
“I never wanted to be the poster girl for people with scars, but the reality is it’s important for me to talk more about looking different,” Annie revealed.
After the fire, Annie was given to a foster family where she grew up a happy girl. “I was a happy, chirpy little girl, and that translated to my classmates, so it was rare for anyone to bully me,’”she said.
I never felt, ‘I’m burned, this is a really big deal.’
She had many surgeries over her life and skin grafts, and scars that will stay forever, both physical and emotional. But she’s happy and in a good place. “The thing is, I’ve always looked this way. It’s not a new thing I have to learn how to deal with,” she told The Sun.
In fact, her scars even became an afterthought to her. “When I was in my twenties, my struggles weren’t “do I look pretty?” it was about everyday stuff like paying the rent and building my confidence up.”
She found love the healthy way
Now a fitness trainer, Annie’s aim is to help others feel more confident.
Now, as a personal trainer, I love helping others boost their confidence too.
Annie Price to The Sun
Coincidentally, the gym is where she met her husband Sam. The two worked at the same gym and Annie insists that their connection developed naturally. “When I met my husband Sam at the gym where we both worked, we started off as friends, chatting all the time,” she said.
I’m a big believer that relationships take time, too – I’m the type of person who walks into love.
In 2020, her story is more relevant than we think
Communication is a core principle of her life. She wants her children to benefit from that too. But even more in general, Annie feels that her story needs to be told.
But changing dialogues make her realize how important being open is, even when it’s hard. “Now because of the Black Lives Matter movement, I feel like everyone in the country is having difficult conversations, and it’s made me think I could do more,” Annie said.
“Telling my story is important, as is hearing other people’s – that’s what lifts the world up.”
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